Does God have a purpose for your life? Yes! We all want to know that our lives make a difference and leave a legacy. We all want to know that our lives have purpose and meaning. God wants you to know that He has a plan and purpose for your life.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”—Jeremiah 29:11
The problem many of us face is this: We don’t know how to discover our purpose because we get mixed messages about purpose and meaning.
The world says…
- Do what makes you happy.
- Do what you want.
The Bible says…
- Seek God’s kingdom first.
- Love God and love others.
Someone may have spoken words or caused you to believe God’s purpose for your life doesn’t matter—or worse, it doesn’t exist. These words create confusion about who you are and God’s purpose for your life.
To be fair, there are many who have received words of encouragement that have shaped them to believe in who God says they are. But, as cultural influences spread, many more don’t.
God’s Role for You
God has an important role for you to play in His mission for the world. To discover your true significance and purpose, you must find your place in God’s plan.
Discovering God’s Purpose for Your Life
The Bible is full of examples of people discovering God’s purpose for their lives. Let’s take a look at Nehemiah.
Nehemiah served the Persian king in a secular position before beginning his quest to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. From the beginning of his assignment, Nehemiah knew he needed a strategy. This strategy helped him stay focused and in alignment with God’s plan.
- Pray and Focus
Nehemiah wept when he heard about the broken walls and burned gates of Jerusalem. He prayed and put his focus on God. He confessed his own sin and the sin of Israel.
“And I said: ‘I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.’”—Nehemiah 1:5-7
- Claim God’s Promises
Nehemiah claimed the promises of God. God has made promises to you, giving you a new identity in Jesus.
“Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”—Nehemiah 1:8-11
- Make Yourself Available
Nehemiah made himself available to God, wisely asking the king for permission to go to Judah.
“Therefore the king said to me, ‘Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.’ So I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, ‘May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?’ Then the king said to me, ‘What do you request?’ So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, ‘If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.’”—Nehemiah 2:2-5
- Think About Future Generations
After the walls of Jerusalem were built, Nehemiah and the people celebrated with gladness. There was revival and rejoicing. This made an impact on future generations. Revivals and rejoicing have a beginning and an end, but the movement of God continues beyond the moment, impacting the next generation.
“Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps. And the sons of the singers gathered together from the countryside around Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites, from the house of Gilgal, and from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth; for the singers had built themselves villages all around Jerusalem. Then the priests and Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, the gates, and the wall.”—Nehemiah 12:27-30
God’s purpose for your life is to worship Him and to point others to Christ.
Looking Beyond Yourself for Your Purpose
Nehemiah knew God wanted him to have a long-term vision for His people and city. The Jewish people had experienced tremendous victory, but if they were to be a light to the world for generations to come, they needed to understand that the work they were doing in the present would set the stage for the next generation.
God’s purpose for your life impacts the next generation. It isn’t just about your purpose and how it affects your life. Instead, ask God, “What impact do you want to make through me for my children, grandchildren, those I disciple and do life with?” The impact you make for God’s kingdom can only come from the empowerment you receive from the Holy Spirit.
Nehemiah looked beyond the walls of Jerusalem, precisely as we are commanded to do. We are to look into the world and see where we are needed to help establish a strong Gospel witness. This prepares us to fulfill our mission and purpose.
The world has changed since Nehemiah’s day, but the strategy remains the same.
3 Keys to Discovering Your Purpose
To discover God’s purpose for your life as it pertains to this kingdom vision, you need to realize three things:
- You are a key person!
If you want to make a significant impact and be a part of the body of Christ that makes a difference, you must know God’s plan. God chose 1 out of 10 people from outside Jerusalem and brought them into the city to rebuild it. Jerusalem was weak and had no wall but became a fortified city. The 9 out of 10 were called to stay behind to raise the crops and take care of other essentials to support the city. Everyone had a key position.
The same goes for you. You might be called to the frontline in ministry or called to be a supporter or encourager. Either way, your position is essential!
- Realize you have key tools.
Understand the gifts and abilities God has given you. No one person can do it all, and God has given each person certain gifts and abilities. God has given you a gift, and you are a gift to the body of believers where God has placed you.
- God has strategically positioned you in a key place.
God’s intent for Jerusalem was to be a launching pad to reach the world. The Church is also a launching pad to tell the world about Jesus. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” God has strategically placed you where you live, and you are not there by accident. It’s a key place on God’s map so that you will “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
You have an opportunity to influence the next generation by knowing God’s plan. You have a purpose in God’s plan, but you must pray and focus on Him, claim His promises, make yourself available, and think about the next generation. The difference you make in the lives of others will echo throughout all eternity. So then, what impact do you want to make? What echo do you want to create?
God’s purpose for your life is to echo Him and the message of Jesus throughout the world.